The very last place on earth I’d expect to find fantastic, authentic Indian cooking would be in the strange wasteland of the Silo district. But hey! Life’s full of happy surprises, isn’t it?
We were invited to try The Yard’s new Sunday Brunch, and what a great experience it was. Really, it was. The service was genuinely warm and friendly if at times haphazard and erratic – they had no drinks menu at all at brunch time, no list of coffees, teas, juices, cocktails whatsoever and the same waiter hardly came to our table twice – the food was lipsmackingly delicious and the restaurant interior drop-dead gorgeous with a sort of industrio-chic vibe going on. Lovely fresh botanical decor details.
The dead and soulless location in which this gem is set is a huge distraction though, and one really hopes that the passionate team behind The Yard will find a more suitable venue, because they deserve to be right up there at the top.
The Yard at Silo pegs itself as serving Euro-Asian fusion food. Practically, that translates to an extensive (very) menu of popular and more unusual Indian dishes, and some Mediterranean ones. All of it looks very tempting, if a little bizarrely juxtaposed. How tapas, gnocchi and Punjabi Indian all belong together in one kitchen is anybody’s guess! For my money, they might as well cut the menu by half and focus on the Indian food. The rest is just clutter.
What caught my eye in particular was the Indian breakfast menu – rare as hen’s teeth anywhere and utterly unknown in the Mother City – as well as some unfamiliar Indian home-style specialities I’m really keen to try. The restaurant inside is very modern, spacious and capacious. It’s minimalist without being stark (quite unlike the exterior) and softened with botanical decor elements everywhere. There are also a few deli items on sale – chocolate, wine, coffee and the like and curiously, some homeware, clothes and jewellery as well. None of that made sense to me, but if it works for them that’s fine!
For me, the focus is the food. Which is excellent, I assure you. From March 2018, The Yard serves brunch every Sunday from 10h00 onwards. Live music is performed from 12h00 to 15h00, to jolly things along.
The Yard’s brunch menu features a range of options designed to satisfy any and all tastes. The classic brunch menu includes croissants and Eggs Benedict, toasted sandwiches, burgers, omelettes, eggs any number of ways and vegan choices too. Health nuts can choose between Bircher Muesli (mixed with berries, rooibos, cinnamon-spiced peaches and a crumbed nut brittle) and an egg-white soufflé omelette (made with brie cheese, wild mushrooms, avocado and baby spinach).
Stuffed bagels are a thing: try yours with saffron chicken tikka and a side of turmeric mayo and mango chutney. The classic smoked salmon/cream cheese combo and other Western versions are all there too.
And wow, waffles for Africa, with sweet or savoury toppings. Ever craved a chicken tikka waffle? Here’s your chance! Or choose berry-and-liquorice or lemon meringue waffles. The Yard serves savoury waffles with a choice of grated beef mince bobotie, prawn bisque or chicken tikka masala toppings.
The Yard’s brunch showpiece is traditional Indian dosa, which is both vegan and gluten-free. This fermented rice flour pancake is co-founder G.P. Singh’s signature offering. Dosas can be ordered with chicken biryani, keema-spiced lamb, palak paneer or dal makhani. We shared one with potato curry and literally competed for the last bite.
As starter we shared baked honey yoghurt with an incredible home-made granola and fresh fruit – seriously recommended – before ordering abovementioned masala dosa and a mutton rogan josh with garlic naan. The meat was meltingly tender in a rich and beautifully spiced sauce; the bread crisp and freshly baked. Sensational.
I drank a salty lassi, which I love – there’s the classic sweet mango version too. Take note, if you order a salty lassi at The Yard, to ask for it without the black salt they use in preparation, as black salt has an unpleasant sulphurous ‘rotten egg’ whiff to it, which no-one wants in their lassi. I asked for mine to be remade without it, with just plain salt and the standard ground cumin, which the kitchen was happy to comply with.
Would I recommend it? Wholeheartedly. One tip: sit inside the very lovely restaurant, as the bleak exterior of the Silo might put a dampener on your sunny mood. It really isn’t an attractive place to be and, like I said, I hope the owners of The Yard can find a better venue for their stunning eaterie.
The Yard is open Monday to Saturday from 07h30-22h00, and on Sundays from 07h30-15h00. For more details or to book, call 021 879 1157, or visit www.theyardatsilo.co.za.